News & Analysis

Fantasy Football Mailbag: Broncos backfield, Michael Gallup's ceiling and when to draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire

PFF's Andrew Erickson is here to answer any and all fantasy football questions weekly throughout the NFL preseason. The mailbag will appear periodically throughout the regular season.

Submit questions for Andrew either via email ([email protected]) or Twitter @AndrewErickson_ or @PFF_Fantasy.

Without further ado: Let's talk about the Denver Broncos running backs, Michael Gallup’s ceiling and when to draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

This week’s questions come courtesy of @profootballfocus on Instagram.

How do you see the Denver Broncos backfield shaking out between Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay? — @j.beyer10

Phillip Lindsay has been great as a rusher in his first two seasons, but it’s not a great sign for his outlook that he saw over 250 touches a season ago and the team opted to go out and acquire a three-down workhorse in Melvin Gordon

Ultimately, I expect Gordon to lead the backfield as both a rusher and receiver, which does not leave much on the bone for Lindsay to contribute with Royce Freeman still looming in the background. Both Freeman and Gordon caught more passes than Lindsay last season, so it’s no guarantee that he is going to see work in the passing game.

Combining that with losing work on early-down and goal-line situations to Gordon and Lindsay does not appear to have much standalone value. He might see more work early in the season with head coach Vic Fangio anticipating them both working in a 1A/1B situation, but Gordon will still have the edge.

Lindsay is emerging as more of a high-end backup — a startable fantasy piece if given the full workload.

Gordon saw the eighth-most rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line (15) from Week 5 onward, and he has 40 receptions in each of the last four seasons. Those are the high-value touches you want in fantasy, so even if their touches are a 60/40 split, Gordon will still vastly outproduce Lindsay.  

Per PFF’s strength of schedule tool, the Broncos have the sixth-easiest schedule for running backs. 

What is Michael Gallup’s ceiling? — @bowgriff

Michael Gallup has it in him to finish as a top-12 wide receiver in 2020. He plays in one of the best offenses in the league, and we've seen him already outproduce Amari Cooper in stretches. During the last eight weeks of the season, Gallup was WR10 in PPR scoring.

In 2019, Gallup’s average yards per route run (2.16) ranked 10th, just slightly behind Cooper (2.29). That metric is a great predictor of his future success. There’s a lot to like about Gallup in 2020, and the drafting of CeeDee Lamb has suppressed his ADP, making him a no-brainer pick at WR31. 

Also, consider that Gallup has played with Dak Prescott the longest of all the Dallas receivers and his quarterback has gone to him in crunch time. Last season, Gallup had the highest wide receiver rating (131.1) and fifth-most receiving yards on third down. 

What are your thoughts on Washington’s RB situation? — @mike.murano

I wrote an entire breakdown titled “Breaking down the Washington backfield for fantasy football,” but here is a quick snapshot:

Adrian Peterson is going to be the early-down starter in Week 1 when Washington takes on the Philadelphia Eagles, with a combination of Bryce Love and Peyton Barber serving as his immediate backups. In obvious passing situations, J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson will battle it out for touches.

Ultimately, Gibson, Love and McKissic (in that order) all offer interesting upside, making them easy targets to draft late because of their potential as pass-catchers in an offense that is going to post much better passing numbers in 2020.

Gibson has the highest ceiling because there's a strong chance we see his tackle-breaking on full display at the NFL level. In college, his forced missed tackle rate as a rusher (0.48) ranked first and as a receiver (0.45) ranked third among qualifying running backs and wide receivers. You can’t go broke drafting a player who forced a missed tackle on half of his touches.

If you can get Gibson in the seventh or eighth round, I think that’s a solid value, but if you miss out just try to grab at least one piece of the backfield before your draft concludes. Ambiguous backfields offer so much value — at each of their costs, you can’t go wrong with Gibson, Peterson or Love. Just draft them and see how the backfield plays out. 

Quick Hitters

Where are you drafting Clyde Edwards-Helaire? Would your answer change in PPR vs. standard? — @aguilar_25

I have Clyde Edwards-Helaire ranked No. 5 in PPR, so I'm drafting only the Big Four (Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara) in front of him.

In standard scoring, I have him ranked five spots lower, behind Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs and Michael Thomas.

Dalvin Cook or Clyde Edwards-Helaire at the fifth pick? — @ThePhag

Was in this exact situation — go with the rookie, Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Who wins this trade? — @tylerplayter15

Side A: Saquon Barkley, Travis Kelce and DeVante Parker or

Side B: Davante Adams, Joe Mixon, Evan Engram and James White

Side B. I view Barkley/Kelce and Adams/Mixon has equal, so the edge goes to Engram and White for Parker.

How much value does Ronald Jones have this season? — @chech311

He is one of “my guys” but he’s an RB2 at least.

Thoughts on Kenyan Drake? What round would you draft Chase Edmonds? — @_darrylsilva_

Kenyan Drake is on the #fade list. And, yes, I love drafting Chase Edmonds in Round 9 or 10. 

Could Damien Harris be the pickup of the year? — @ryan_montie14

Yes! He is one of my favorite second-year sleepers

Josh Jacobs or Clyde Edwards-Helaire? — @fromthejunkyard

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

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